In a stunning success for the second time in 17 months, India’s most formidable and advanced strategic missile, Agni-V was tested for its full range of 5,000 km on Sunday.
The launch of the nuclear weapons capable Agni-V once again demonstrated India’s capability in firing an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). India staked the claim to join an elite club of nations to possess the technology for developing ICBMs after the remarkable success of Agni-V’s maiden flight-test in April last year.
Soon after the test-firing at 8.50 a.m. Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO, Avinash Chander asserted that Agni-V was an ICBM and declared that the next launch would be canister-based. "The country has established ICMB capability with the successful second test", he added and said that system was now ready to be productionsied. It would would be inducted into the Army in a couple of years after few more trials.
Describing it as an overhwelming success, V.G. Sekaran, Chief Controller ( MIssiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, said it was an "overwhelming success and showed the reliability and maturity of the sub-systems. It has established our readiness to move to the next stage of canisterisation", he added
The three-stage, nuclear capable weapon Agni-V has the capability to carry over a 1,000 kg warhead over a distance of 5,000 km. It can cover entire Asia and most other land masses. All the three stages are solid-fuelled.
After a few hiccups during the pre-launch count down and even after the auto-launch, the 17-metre tall missile rose majestically from a mobile launcher and zoomed into the sky. After the three stages got separated as planned at different altitudes, the nose cone carrying the dummy payload withstood scorching temperatures of 3000 degrees celsius , while re-entering the atmosphere and zeroed in on to the pre-designated target point in the Indian Ocean, 5000 km away with an accuracy of a few metres after a flight duration of little over 20 minutes.
Earlier, the missile was brought to the launch pad and a pooja was preformed while it was in horizontal position. The missile carried a host of advanced technologies like composte motor casings, navigation systems, multiple telemtry systems and smooth separation systems. Soon after the comand was given, the entire mission was carried out in automode till the final terminal event. The full trajectory and performance of the missile until its splash down, including the explosion of the dummy warhead were tracked by radars along the East Coast and three ships--one at midrange and two positioned near the target point.
Celebrations broke out on the Wheeler Island soon after the successful launch and Defence Minister A.K. Antony congratulated the entire DRDO team for the second success.